A work in progress which all will appreciate I'm sure!
So many contributors over the years, not the least being to thank such as Len Borgstrom, Uffe Edefuhr , Han van der Pauw, and John Fiskat
To any contributors
to this article or the linked 5/6 position bib PDF below, who
feel insufficiently acknowledged please advise to see if the
situation can be remedied. My
apologies to those unintentionally slighted.
Many thanks also to Rob (Mr Hi-Lo) from The Netherlands who recounts how he was bewitched by the Hi-lo
Please feel welcome to contribute and improve this
1955 to the Present!
"ABU introduced many lures that were very successful and remain big sellers to this day. One example is the HI-LO , a plug with a unique adjustable lip that allows it to be fished at different depths. While fishing for pike, my father came up with the idea that it would be very convenient to use the same bait at various depths. On the first prototype, however, the spoon's angle changed too easily upon impact with the water's surface. Since Ake Murvall happened to come along on this test expedition, it did not take long before a better design was in place....
...All our lures were tested for at least one year before they were introduced to the market. The same was true for all our reels. We wouldn't have to worry that any of our products would suffer any so called 'childhood diseases,' or that any of our customers would become unfortunate guinea-pigs."
Always liked this particular Cover page from 1961 in Sweden. A special lure to me!
ABU Hi-Lo (on the left) is systematically searching for the fish at every depth.
(On the right) Daytime, weather, water level...this are some of the parameters influencing on the fishes choice of whereabouts.
Sometimes one can find them out in the deep, sometimes in warmer shallow waters.
With ABU Hi-Lo You can catch them all!
ABU Hi-Lo has an adjustable spoon for fishing at 6 different depths - from shallow to very deep.
ABU Hi-Lo is available in weights of 12, 18 and 26 g which cost 7:75, 8:75 and 9:50 respectively. 11 different colours.
AB URFABRIKEN SVÄNGSTA
April/May 1961 (many thanks to Christian for the translation)
My first experience with Hi-LO was in 1966.
I loved the HI-LO from first retrieve and they are still in my tackle box today after using them many different sizes and colours and articulation types for 33 years!
Going back a bit, I think due deference should be paid to the Heddon Dowagiac plug to show they were known in Europe in the late 1930's.
Thanks to John Fishkat for these other old 1930's USA catalog scans of Heddon/pre-Hilo images
Obviously a classic shaped plug that would give rise to a multitude of similar baits over the decades.
Made by the Reynolds Plastics Company in USA.
I have used the original Heddon Vamp Spook with fixed lip and can understand why the symbiotic relationship between ABU and Heddon soured due to the Swedish adjustable lip model outselling the Heddon Spook/Vamp line. It is NO comparison to the Hi-Lo ! The deal struck between ABU and Heddon re sharing technology was most advantageous for all fishermen!
It would be the ABU HI-LO that would innovate and survive more that 50 years though due to the innovative adjustable lip controlling depth.
For scaling purposes, image at the very top of this page, is a collection of all four Yellow shore XRY HI-LO in 12g 18g 20g Jointed ('Ledad') and 28g sizes. Also included is the Heddon ABU HI-LO River Runt Spook in 18g in RH colour (only weight available for this Scandinavian sold example)
It is interesting that ABU included the catalog advertizing for Heddon ABU HI-LO Vamp Spook (to indicate the international popularity) HI-LO, but this was not reciprocal as I understand.
A good friend Rob, believes that the Heddon ABU HI-LO bait is
a side show, and did not have too big a profile in the
whole scheme of things relating to the ABU HI-LO.
to John Fishkat for supplying many image here, and the especially
neat looking bib position image below.
Perhaps Heddon management would consider the "clicking depth mechanism of the ABU design" a passing fad for the USA market ? Who knows?
The Americans know it as a cheap, plastic (not wood) copy of their
beloved (since 1933) River Runt available in a myriad of colours, in
fact the Hi-Lo version never made a Heddon catalog, the
reference of 9440 is only known by a few Heddon specialists such as
leading Heddon authority Tom Jacomet. Enjoy his page here http://www.lurelore.com/abuhilo.html
However there are a few boxed examples (Heddon boxes) in the USA and the owners will try to sell them for many hundreds of US dollars, better possibly to look at the real Swedish collectibles in the early lures without "patent" on the belly.
The Heddon version lasted but a few short years and of course the real Hi-LO was still selling in its original 6 position lip form well into this century.
Discussion with fellow ABU fans
such as Hans van der Pauw, John Fishkat, Rob, Uffe, the other Hans,
etc leads us to agree that the original 5 position lip model
may have been the first idea but in reality not implemented
due to design of an integral (birdshead) component that had 6 rises
and 5 valleys thus permitting an unintended extra lip
position. The box ends showed the theory but in fact every
lure we have tried has indeed got 6 positions.
See below left-hand side of image to count 5 positions of lip. John and I would dearly have loved to make a similar image of a true 5 position model to prove the the model did exist even for a short time. We know know it did not!
Comparisons of the Heddon and ABU plugs
Derrik (ABUFreak) has shared some requested rarely seen images from his massive HI-LO collection here.
Production samples below before painting
26g Hi-Lo Prototype colours unnamed
40g RH and XB Silver Prototype correctly named on belly
Still other Prototype/experimental colours produced in very limited numbers here
More of the Svangsta factory's experimental colours on the 26g HiLo Black silver and Brown /Orange
These examples are proof that the HiLo (along with other lures) were assembled by others elsewhere and complete ABU marked packets or boxes with all parts (14 in the case of 12g, 17 in case of 26g model)
I have some reservations about the recent Asian changes to its overall shape and structure made to both HI-LO and Killer (ie Shad) and still calling them by the original names. A complete new name is needed and any markedly different design should not try to trade on a past successes. It devalues the history of many decades when changes were not needed.
HISTORY (as documented via catalog advertizing)
1955 The illustration below shows the essential difference between HI-LO and other lures.
advertising has now proved to be incorrect but this still was what
was provided to the buying public. See above
The 5 lip positions were referred to as
Mycket djupt = Very Deep,
Djupt = Half Deep,
Normalt = Medium deep ,
Grunt = Shallow ,
Mycketgrunt = Very shallow.
Each set of saltwater treble hooks was attached to the lure by a stainless steel , two screw hanger.
The lures were initially only available in colours M, L, RH, XBW, XRY, XRS, T, and BGL (not illustrated)
The 26g 110 mm long Model 12450 Sjunkande/Sinking, when cast, falls very slowly waiting for the angler to decide the moment when retrieve will start. It can be easily "clicked" , with fingers and no tools, to a new setting deeper or shallower on successive casts. It had 3 treble hooks attached.
The 18g 80mm long Model 12455 Flytande/Floating, 28g in weight when cast, floats waiting for the angler to decide the moment when retrieve will start. It can be easily "clicked" , with fingers and no tools, to a new setting deeper or shallower on successive casts. It had 2 treble hooks attached.
Patent was applied for this unique concept!
When asking Hilo expert Tobias from Sweden, about the rare black lipped XBG, his response was .....
That is true, the black lip was on the 18 and 26 gram, 12 g came around 1960,
and the belly was marked Sweden patent.
The early ones, and that is the 18 and 26g, the was only marked Sweden, not
patent, and the black lip was only to somewhere 1957-1958. Around 1958-1959,
the Sweden Patent was marked on the belly, and the lip was no longer black.
Only he earliest ones have the black lip.
Tobias and Eleonor
1956 This illustration below show that the BGL was included in the pictorial line-up this second year of production. No other changes noted.
1957 The only difference this year is the catalogue page layout, with Tight Lines being two pages and N&N using just one page.
All above stay the same except the HI-LO can now also run at Ytligt position which means on the surface, what we in Australia call a top water lure or popper!
All size ranges and colours stay the same.
1959 No changes for this year.
1960 This catalog contains a big double page advertising depicting colour choices (LYS is advertised for the first time with glow lines.
Also the 12g size Hi-Lo was introduced to the range, and the very beautiful and rare XBG now extended the range. The 12 g XBG would only stay in production until 1968. Here it is .. side, belly and top, displaying the now used Patent mark.
A good friend and editor of this page, Hans from The Netherlands, has with his discerning eye noted that the 18g model does NOT have the usual hook arrangement. To me, having had this pointed out, it seems like it was a transition (but without cup) to the upcoming 1961 hooking change .
1961 From now till 1969, no changes have been noted in the range of HI-LO colours, style or sizes offered.
However the hook attachment system on last years new 12g HI-LO has been changed to a single attachment screw with a cup surround, presumably to stop fine lines becoming entangled in the screw bend.
1968 The hook attachment system introduced in the 1961 12g HI-LO has been changed from the single attachment screw with a cup surround to the original system on all other HI-LO's.
1969 The first significant changes for 9 years have occurred with the introduction of the jointed or Ledad HI-LO in 20g size.
All colours except LYS and the XBG are available.
The new larger 150mm long and 40g or 1 1/2 oz HI-LO in BGL, BO, LYS and M was released.
I have one of these monsters, released in Asia post 1981 in RH.
1970 The range of colours for the articulated or 'ledad' HI-LO have been increased to all nine except for the XRS
1971 No changes to catalog
1975 No changes to catalog
1976 Few changes to catalog page
1981 sees ABU-Garcia take its lure production offshore and to the far east.
Questions on this matter produced these very helpful responses from different PF Managers in Sweden and France.
The manufacturing of all lures was moved to the Far East in 1981.
SE-376 81 Svängsta
do not make any lure in
Hope it helps. Any question I remain.
Manager PF (European Division) France.
I guess as ABU went off shore to Asia for production, new changes were inevitable.
To me the soul of the Hi-Lo and other ABU lures, I used in my youth departed when production left Sweden.
If you have any other Hi-LO lures, particularly the 12g Hi-LO in XBG colour or USA made Heddon ABU Hi-LO in colours other than XBW, RH, L or XRY that are very good condition, mint or boxed, and are un-needed or doubles in your collection and are available for swapping or a reasonable fee, I would be very pleased to hear from you.